Written by 6:00 pm Caribbean, Carnival

Onboard: The Great Escape – Carnival Liberty a welcome reprieve

carnival liberty

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is aboard Carnival Liberty on a Western Caribbean itinerary this week. Here’s his latest dispatch:

AT SEA, En Route to Grand Cayman Island, Dec. 8, 2009 — The cares of the world seem to disappear at sea and nowhere is that more evident than aboard Carnival Liberty in the Western Caribbean this week.

While CNN and other news channels (beamed to the ship via satellite) remind us of a sagging economy, a nation at war, and the titillating trials and tribulations of Tiger Woods, passengers aboard this mega-ship have been embracing a week-long respite from the daily grind and 24/7 news cycle.

They’re enjoying a host of resort-style amenities — 22 bars/lounges, four pools, a 214-foot-long corkscrew water slide, four dining venues, 13,300-square foot spa, a 4,200-square foot kid’s play area and high energy Vegas-style revues, nightly.

Even the ship’s interiors are enough to boost spirits. The 110,000-ton, 2,974-passenger vessel features design themes which celebrate the work of talented craftsmen from the mediums of ironworking, wood carving and stone cutting to jewelry making, pottery and photography.

But there’s more than just design elements to stir the soul at sea aboard Liberty. Much more.

A sports park features nine-hole mini-golf, there’s ping pong, basketball and volleyball courts and a jogging track (to put the size of Liberty in perspective, nine laps around the track equals one mile). A golf professional is onboard to host both lessons and trips to the links in Mexico (Cozumel), Grand Cayman and Jamaica (Ocho Rios).

Want more? There’s a casino, shops, tattoo booth, cigar lounge and an Internet café with private workstations featuring flat-screen monitors, along with Wi-Fi access available in virtually all public rooms and areas. Passengers can also make and receive cell phone calls whether the ship is at sea or in port.

Non-stop daily activities also include everything from bingo and hairy chest competitions to karaoke, art auctions, trivia competitions and a plethora of games, events, and seminars.

Need a breather? There’s always a deck chair available to enjoy the Caribbean sun as this seven-night voyage also includes three days at sea. Liberty also features a massive, 270-square-foot Seaside Theater which hovers over the Lido Deck. Look for concerts, movies and, as was the case departing Cozumel last night, live Monday Night Football before a packed at-sea audience.

Culinary choices aboard Liberty abound. Two main dining rooms (Silver and Golden) are complemented by Harry’s Steakhouse, a reservations-only, $30 per person specialty restaurant.

Emile’s is the Lido/poolside venue plus Liberty offers a Mexican burrito station, a Mongolian Wok (the busiest venue bar none featuring beef, chicken, shrimp, pork or salmon, choice of noodles and fresh vegetables); fish ‘n chips counter, poolside grill, deli, dessert station, 24/7 pizzeria and ice cream, and room service.

When calling it a day — or night — passengers return to their respective suites and a restful sleep on a “Carnival Comfort Bed” complete with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets, comfortable pillows and high-quality sheets and linens.

Passengers can also slip into terrycloth bathrobes when retiring for the night as they reach (sans TV remote control) for the Carnival newsletter featuring a detailed list of tomorrow’s events and activities.

Later this week: We’ll delve deeper into the culinary component of a Carnival Liberty cruise.

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